Sloth + Pride

While Bethlehem Shoals whittled away in West Texas over the past few days, the rest of us did little to pick up the slack for him. Some of us have legitimate excuses, like the four of us who traveled overseas to attend the grueling Andrea Bargnani pre-draft workouts/psychological tests. Others, like myself, well I'm just damn busy. I haven't eaten a decent meal in weeks and caught all too little of the second round. That doesn't mean I'm not gonna take the time, on behalf of all Timberwolves fans from Cloquet to Mapleton, to tell you when I'm right . On some T-Mac premature shit, you say? Perhaps, but right now, I'm sticking with what I said in November:

But there is one thing, one overlooked element that should be the hallmark of Larry Brown's career. One thing that LB is capable of doing that not Flip or any other coach has done before: He knows how to stop teams who have Shaq. Larry is Kryptonite. (Note that Popovich doesn't count here because he was playing with TWO hall of fame centers in 03, and weren't both Shaq and Kobe a bit injured or something? Weren't they?). LB's 2001 Game 1 Finals victory over the Lakers may have been his greatest achievement ever. That Sixers team sucked and everyone knew it. Then, in 04, The Pistons shoved it down the Lakers' throats, with steady Shaq-harrassment coming from Elden Campbell, Big Ben, Sheed, and even Big Nasty. And last year, even with Shaq promising South Beach a championship and hungrier than ever, LB had Diesel looking like Shazaam

This may ultimately be the reason that the Pistons will miss both Brown, and the Finals. Flip and so many other coaches fail in these monumental tasks, because unlike Larry, they are followers and not leaders. During the Wolves/Lakers WCF series in 04, Flip pulled out some gawd-awful Mike Dunleavy-circa-Brian Grant on the Blazers shit and made Shaq go to the free throw line 30 times a game. Shaq hit them when they counted, Kobe, Kareem Rush, and Devean George got involved, and the Lakers won handily. Larry defied convention, and instead learned how to annoy the hell out of Shaq, still let him get HIS, but annoy him to death...

Editors note: Forgot to mention that LB also coached and won the famous 1995 Indiana/Orlando Rik Smits "swish" game against Shaq & co. Trust me, Shaq wants NO PART of LB.


At 5/30/2006 10:45 AM, Blogger Mirabeau Lamar said...


True dat re: LB the Shaq stopper, but LB's fatal flaw will always be his inability to commit to a team long enough to build a dynasty. His departure from Detroit was depressing. He seems to suffer from the "no more worlds to conquer" syndrome. LB's adolescent attention span finally resulted in his lowest professional moment: squabbling with Starbury in the national media over an abortion masquerading as a professional basketball team.

At 5/30/2006 11:54 AM, Blogger GentleWhoadie9000 said...

DLIC, you make it manifest, god.

At 5/30/2006 12:14 PM, Blogger coach said...

with a pose like the one in LB's photo , even the traffic will stop much less shaq.

At 5/30/2006 12:31 PM, Blogger laura said...

the worst part is that big ben is pointing fingers at flip. these pistons are supposed to be so smart that they have larry brown's defensive lessons down pat, right? did they just forget everything they learned in one year away from brown?

i don't know if larry brown as the coach would have helped this batch of pistons this season. don't get me wrong--brown is a great coach. but consider that the pistons stood pat while everyone else loaded up and changed their roster. also, don't discount the hunger factor in miami.

the pistons like to act as if they've won 5 or 6 rings already, with their talk of having "the heart of a champion" (chauncey billups). well, they got their ring in 2004, so they're not champs. but they talk as if these playoffs are a formality.

what definitely happened in that brown and the pistons got really huge heads. brown thought he could make the knicks better and bench his best players all the way to the olympic gold, the pistons thought they were so much better than everybody else. they turned into the lakers with just one ring, basically.

another thing to take into account--stern changed the rules to favor a more free flowing game. i'm not saying that brown wouldn't be able to adjust--i'm just saying that the effectiveness of his defense first mentality may be blunted because of the rule changes favoring the offense. he's a stubborn guy, and look how slow he was in the olympics to adjust to FIBA rules, which are very different from the nba rules. where he was considered an nba coaching genius, he looked like a FIBA coaching retard. larry brown is great, but he's no miracle worker.

At 5/30/2006 12:48 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

the pistons got projected based on their outlandish start, when almost everyone else in the east had problems. they lost some momentum after the break, which was around the same time that the heat, nets, cavs, wizards, and pacers all rounded into form. who's to say that much of their rep this year isn't, like their '04 title, somewhat circumstantial?

At 5/30/2006 12:52 PM, Blogger Zembla said...

I like the piece, but LB and the Pacers lost to Shaq and Orlando back in 1995.

The Pistons look even worse on offense than they do on defense, and isn't offense supposed to be Flip's thing? One thing that seems lacking with Detroit is the ability to bring in reserves to get different looks. Dallas can play fast or slow, big or small. Phoenix can mix in Barbosa off the bench. Detroit brings in McDyess, and then...Mo Evans? Lindsay Hunter? There's no Plan B.

When Sheed says, "I'll take this five over any five in the world", he's being literal. Other than McDyess, no one contributes anything significant off the bench. It's part of the identity of the Pistons - the best starting five, four All-Stars, no superstars, same starting lineup all season, no reserves. Though it might be dooming them this year, I still find this more aesthetically pleasing than the standard collection of declining vets hoping for a ring that so defines the Spurs/Heat.

At 5/30/2006 2:09 PM, Blogger Dr. Lawyer IndianChief said...

wow...good call, zembla. will edit immediately. i think i just got caught up when they showed that rik smits clip yesterday.

At 5/31/2006 10:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is not at all true. Shaq destroyed the Sixers in 2001. What no one remembers from the 2004 finals is that be bullied and beat down Ben Wallace; he was the best Laker during a series that Kobe Bryant struggled.


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